Stan “The Man” Ploski
Stan “The Man” Ploski began to develop his exciting driving style as a teammate with his father, Stan Sr., in identical yellow No. 27 Sr. & Jr. 1937 Chevrolet Sportsman coupes in 1962 and from those beginnings he quickly rose to be one dirt-track Modified stock-car racing’s most popular and successful drivers.
As a “rookie leadfoot,” the Ringoes, New Jersey resident won the 1962 New Jersey State Novice Championship in a title race that was held at the old half-mile asphalt Vineland Speedway. But after winning 18 straight Sportsman races on the old 5/8-mile dirt Flemington (N.J.) Speedway in 1963 he was forced to move up to the Modified division where he quickly became a very competitive racer.
Although best remembered for his dirt-track exploits, Ploski showed his versatility in a Modified on asphalt in 1965 when he finished second with his No. 27 Chevy coupe to Bill Slater when the National Open/Race of Champions was run for the first time on the newly-paved and redesigned one-mile Langhorne (Pa.) Speedway.
Ploski’s reputation as a Modified driver got another immediate boost in 1966 when he won the first Daniel Boone 200 at the old half-mile Reading (Pa.) Fairgrounds in his yellow No. 27 Jr. 1936 Chevrolet sedan. Then, in 1967, he used fellow EMPA Hall of Fame member Dick Cozze’s No. 80 coach to win the race again at a track where he eventually won six main events.
In 1969, Ploski won the Lebanon Valley 200 in Paul Deasey’s No. 707 “Big Donkey” – a radically cut-down yellow 1937 Chevrolet coupe that was powered by a fuel-injected SOHC Ford engine. In 1970, he won the Modified title at the old East Windsor (N.J.) Speedway, and in 1971 he won seven consecutive races at EWS plus the track’s championship and the first New Jersey State Modified Championship.
In 1971, Ploski also began driving fellow EMPA Hall of Fame member Ken Brenn Sr.’s yellow No. 24 1937 Chevrolet coupe. And with this car he won the 1971 & 1973 Flemington titles, Flemington’s 1973 National Dirt Track Championship 200, the 1973 East Windsor championship and the 1973 N.J. State Modified honors. He also won 12 of the first 14 races that he took part in at Five Mile Point Speedway in Kirkwood, New York, including two 100-lap events in 1973 – one of which was the Quarter-Mile National Dirt Track Championship 100.
Ploski joined the Norcia Brothers in 1974 and drove their black No. 81 Chevy coupe and Mustang entries to many victories at both Flemington and East Windsor. And after leaving the No. 81 he drove Pete Chesson’s No. 76 Chevy-powered Pinto.
In the mid-1970s Ploski was one of the few select first-class drivers that was able to get his hands on the unique Chevy-powered/Gremlin-bodied Modifieds that were built by EMPA Hall of Fame member Kenny Weld. And he used this cutting-edge yellow No. 27 in 1977 to win his last Flemington Modified title.
When the 1980s arrived, Ploski drove Mike O’Shea’s No. 74 Trenton Mack “Bulldog Express” entries and he won two Tri-Track 100s with these cars and his last Modified victory at Flemington on August 10, 1985. And as his career was winding down he was in the cockpit of the Critelli $ (Dollar Sign).
In all, Ploski won 74 Modified features at Flemington – where he had a 16-year winning streak at Flemington (1966-1981) – and 46 at East Windsor. And it was at these two tracks where he had a great competitive-rivalry with fellow EMPA Hall of Fame driver Billy Osmun
Stan Ploski retired from weekly dirt-track Modified stock-car competition when the square-shaped 5/8-mile Flemington Fair Speedway was paved after the 1990 season.